Federal and state lawmakers have made it a priority to reduce car crashes in New Jersey. Recently, for example, New Jersey law enforcement began an initiative to enforce its ban on texting or talking on a handheld while driving. April is distracted driving awareness month; federal and state officials are attempting to bring awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. It is estimated that one in four car crashes involve the use of a cellphone. Nationwide, thousands are killed and hundreds of thousands injured in crashes involving the use of handheld devices.
While the crackdown against the use of handheld devices while driving is the most recent campaign to promote public safety in the state’s roads, distracted driving is by no means the only dangerous driving behavior that occurs.
Drunk driving remains epidemic in the state. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there were 164 deaths involving alcohol or other impairing substance in 2012, nearly 30 percent of a fatal car crashes in the state. MADD estimates New Jersey spends over $1 billion annually as a consequence of drunk driving.
Speeding also remains a problem behavior. Nationally, approximately 30 percent of crashes involved excessive speed, with the cost surmounting $40 billion.
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 63,333 car crashes involving injury occurred in the state in 2012, the most recent year data is available. There were 284,062 total motor vehicle accidents in the state that same year. Tragically, 589 New Jersey residents lost their lives in a car accident in 2012. According to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, so far this year 114 people have been killed in a motor vehicle accident, although the data is preliminary.
In 2012, an Allstate Insurance company study ranked New Jersey second nationally in the number of car accident claims submitted; this led Forbes magazine to rank New Jersey second in the nation for bad driving behavior.
A car crash can be emotionally and physically devastating, especially when the accident was preventable. For people who have been injured by a drunk, reckless or distracted driver, there are civil legal remedies available. The high cost of medical bills, the time lost at work and other expenses can add up quickly. And insurance companies may dispute medical needs or the cause of the accident.
An experienced personal injury attorney can gather evidence of fault after a car accident, fight the insurance company if it denies benefits and bring a measure of justice to injured car accident victims and their families. New Jersey residents injured in a car crash should consult with a skilled personal injury attorney to discuss legal options.